Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | Whether you’re paying someone to follow you around a course or snapping a shot with the smartphone, getting a photo of you on the course during your round is a must. If there’s not picture, it didn’t happen, right? That being the case, you’re going to want to make the most of that keepsake, and that means the best backdrops possible. From oak trees dating back a couple hundred years to the Intracoastal Waterway to historical landmarks, some of the courses in and around South Carolina’s northern coastline fit the bill.
Until it is no longer a viable course, Caledonia will almost assuredly be included on these types of lists. From the drive onto the property, the walk around the back porch of the iconic clubhouse, the bridged backdrop to the green on No. 13 and all the way back to the approach zone to the 18th green, the visuals here are representative of the course’s overall reputation as one of the area’s best.
Grande Dunes Resort Club isn’t the only course in the area that has at least a hole or two playing next to the Waterway. But it would be difficult to find the guaranteed backdrop associated with the marina across the way from Nos. 9 and 10 anywhere else. The largest boats that traverse this portion of the Intracoastal are frequently docked there, giving players all the more reason to be camera ready when you get to that part of your round.
The on-course views at Pine Lakes include gentle water accents and dynamic contrasts between ultra-green fairways, finely manicured bunkers and native grasses. And oddly enough, the legacy of Myrtle Beach’s first course has a few other pretty nifty scene-setters, too. After all, this clubhouse (which also houses the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame) hosts a few hundred weddings and private events each year. If it’s good enough for a bride, it’ll suit your golf trip just fine.
While one edge of the property lines the Intracoastal, some of the even better views come from the other, where the Cherry Grove Inlet just off the Atlantic Ocean. The slew of holes, mainly Nos. 3, 4, 12 and 13, provide clear sight lines to the free-flowing inlet, surrounding marshlands, oversized vacation homes and even some of the mid-rise hotels beyond that. And with the right focal point, players can even see slivers of the ocean.
Sometime around 1776, a pair of rice plantations opened on the east bank of the Waccamaw river in Georgetown County, just a few miles south of Myrtle Beach city limits. It set off a historical string of events that eventually led to Willbrook Plantation. Much of what fell between is now honored by six historical markers throughout the property and easily identifiable by their respective holes. Any would be a great conversation starter alongside your other photos down the line.